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Sport is for Everyone! Brighton Seagals Flying the Flag for Diversity in Football

Creating a safe and inclusive environment for sport is fundamental – but the first priority for any coach has to be making sure that your environment can attract and welcome everyone equally. Brighton FC are setting a golden example as to the importance of allyship

One club setting a golden example as to the importance of allyship and diversity is Brighton Seagals FC, who in UK Coaching Week are backing the launch of the Duty to Care Hub to help educate and empower more coaches to play their part in boosting diversity in sport and physical activity.

The Seagals are an established football club in the Sussex County Women & Girls Football League based in Brighton & Hove. They offer a safe and inclusive space to play football for lesbian and bisexual women, transgender women, and non-binary players. Recently honoured with the Women’s Game Award at the Football v Homophobia Awards, the club has had a profound impact not just in Sussex, but across the game nationwide.

With their commitment to be here for the coach, UK Coaching are working closely with the coaching community to highlight and celebrate best coaching practice and provide accessible resources for coaches to further develop their skills and awareness.

Alongside a supported programme for LGBTQ+ players and trainee coaches as part of a UEFA Women's EURO 2022 legacy project, the Seagals are committed to ensuring that championing diversity, safety and welfare is central to their club ethos.

Ash Joyce, a coach at Brighton Seagals, reflected on the shining example that the club has been able to set, and where she sees the culture of sport and physical activity improving further:

My role involves planning fun sessions and trying to make everything as inclusive as possible. We have a range of abilities and experience levels, so everything has to consider how we can best support players to develop themselves. We are always working towards team and individual goals, but we are committed to ensuring everyone from any walk of life is welcome and feels empowered to take part."

"One of the things we do is before our sessions, we go around and get everyone to tell the group their name and preferred pronouns – we want to set the standard from the beginning, so everyone knows we are taking their well-being seriously and this is a club where you are safe and respected."

Changing the structure of sessions in this relatively small way can have a colossal impact, not only demonstrating to current participants that this is a safe space built on respect for one another, but also setting a strong foundation for welcoming and including newcomers.

Where unconscious bias and discrimination can be rife in sport, the Duty to Care Hub can help you test your knowledge and learn more about how you can deliver the best care to participants and support and boost diversity within sport and physical activity.

"What we do covers all aspects of care – it’s really important to be first aid trained for example, where the safety of our players is always protected. Our priority is to create an inclusive and fun space where anyone can play football."

A coach’s Duty to Care doesn’t end with the participants: coaches need to support themselves as well.

As a coach we have a duty to care – all aspects of well-being for our participants are our responsibility. That comes from within, it’s important that you also look after yourself too, that your mental and physical well-being is taken into account because that is what helps you recognise it in others."

The learning resources available on the UK Coaching website offer more extensive support than ever before to meet the needs of the modern learner – and include self-care for the coach. As awareness continues to grow of the necessity and impact of embracing Duty to Care in sport and physical activity, the care system must protect and empower everyone, including coaches.

"As a coach, self-care is really important. I enjoy being involved in sport, it gives me a lot to look after myself and it helps translate that to other players. Fitness is how I look after my own emotional well-being, others will have different ways, the most important thing is to be aware and mindful of it because we can only give our best to our participants when we are looking after ourselves too."

The Seagals are setting an outstanding example of how prioritising diversity in every session to meet the needs of and welcome participants from all walks of life establishes a great environment for everyone involved.

UK Coaching’s Duty to Care Hub contains a wealth of resources to help coaches follow in the golden footsteps of clubs like the Seagals to embed the principles of the six pillars of Duty to Care (Diversity; Inclusion; Mental Health and Well-being; Physical Well-being; Safeguarding and Safe to Practice) in all coaching environments.

Duty to Care: Diversity

By promoting diversity and equality in your coaching practice, you can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate and feel valued, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender, age, perceived ability or sexual orientation


Related Resources

  • Creating a Safe and Welcoming Environment for LGBTQ+ Communities

  • Why Is It Important to Embrace Diversity Within the Coaching Workforce?

  • Cognitive Diversity Key to Better Coaching Environments – for All


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